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Education Outside the Classroom:Research to Identify What Trainingis Offered by Initial TeacherTraining Institutions

Sally Kendall, Jenny MurfieldJustin Dillon and Anne Wilkin

National Foundation for Educational Research

Research Report RR802


Education Outside the Classroom: Research to Identify What Training

is Offered by Initial Teacher Training Institutions

Sally Kendall, Jenny Murfield Justin Dillon and Anne Wilkin

National Foundation for Educational Research

The views expressed in this report are the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department for Education and Skills. NFER Trading Ltd 2006 ISBN 978 1 84478 834 7

Research Report No 802


Executive summary i 1 Introduction 1 1.1 Background 1 1.2 Aims of the study 5 1.3 Methods 5 1.4 The report 7 2 Overview of respondents 9 2.1 Subjects directed by secondary respondents 9 2.2 Courses taken by trainees 12 2.3 Geographical location 13 3 Provision of Education Outside the Classroom (EOtC)

activities 14

3.1 The extent to which EOtC is addressed in Initial Teacher Training (ITT) courses


3.2 The extent to which students are required to have practical experience of EOtC


4 Delivery and coordination of EOtC activities 20 4.1 Objectives of EOtC training 21 4.2 The delivery of EOtC training 25 4.3 The coordination of EOtC training 31 4.4 Areas covered in EOtC training 32 4.5 External providers delivering EOtC training 38 5 Timing and quality of EOtC activities 43 5.1 Minimum expectation of EOtC training on

courses 43

5.2 EOtC activities 46 5.3 EOtC areas 52 5.4 Quality of EOtC experiences 58 6 Challenges and facilitators 62 6.1 Factors that have helped or hindered the

provision of EOtC training 62

6.2 Changes in the extent of EOtC training in ITT


7 Future developments 68

8 Conclusions 71 References 75 Appendices 76

Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank the directors of ITT courses and programmes who gave up their time to complete the questionnaire survey for this research. We are particularly grateful to those individuals who supplied examples of EOtC activities and provision. Our thanks also go to members of the Steering Group for their invaluable advice and support throughout the study. Finally, we are grateful to colleagues at NFER, in particular staff in the Statistics Research and Analysis Group (SRAG), from Research Data Services (our specialist survey administration service), and project support staff based at NFERs Northern Office.


Executive summary

Introduction The research was commissioned by the Department for Education and

Skills (DfES), Natural England1, and Farming and Countryside Education (FACE) to provide information on the extent and nature of training in education outside the classroom (EOtC) in initial teacher training (ITT) institutions, across curriculum subjects and across different types of teacher training courses. The research was carried out by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) in collaboration with the Centre for Informal Learning and Schools, Kings College London.

Education outside the classroom can be defined, in its broadest sense, as any structured learning experience that takes place beyond the classroom environment during the school day, after school or during the holidays. It can include, amongst other activities, cultural trips, science and geography fieldwork, environmental and countryside education, outdoor and adventurous group activities, learning through outdoor play, and visits to museums and heritage sites.

Key findings The results from the survey suggested that there was substantial variation

in the amount of EOtC training across courses and across institutions. The quality of provision during school placements was rated as variable by around a third of respondents.

The findings from the survey indicated that EOtC was explicitly addressed in nearly 90 per cent of primary and secondary ITT courses.

At the secondary level, all directors of geography, art and design, physical education (PE), music, citizenship, drama, leisure and tourism, and classics courses indicated that EOtC was addressed within their programmes. EOtC was also addressed in the majority of courses provided by science and history directors. It was less likely to be addressed on mathematics and English courses.

The majority of respondents indicated that there was an expectation that trainees had some practical experience of EOtC on their course, either as a course requirement or a preferred option.

Schools played a major role in training for EOtC, particularly at the secondary level. Over four-fifths of secondary respondents reported that student teachers received training in EOtC when they were on school placements.

1 The work began through the Countryside Agency, which has since become part of Natural England.


Overall, just under half of all respondents reported that there was no minimum entitlement for EOtC training on their courses. Where there was a minimum expectation, this was typically for short periods of time.

There were several gaps in subject directors knowledge, particularly around factors such as the amount of time spent on activities, where responsibility lay for coordinating EOtC activities, and on what happened on school placements.

When respondents were asked to indicate changes in the provision of EOtC training over the last five years, over two-fifths felt that it had increased, a similar number felt there had been no change, and just over a tenth said there had been a decrease.

The main changes/actions that respondents thought would help to encourage their ITT institution to offer more EOtC activities to trainees on their courses were: increased funding and time; greater clarification of, and emphasis on, the Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) standards (in relation to EOtC); a change in schools expectations and standards; course modification and the provision of additional EOtC related-materials and information.

Overall, three key issues emerged from the study: the variation between institutions in the provision of EOtC training; the possibility that some students may be inadequately prepared for EOtC; and the lack of quality assurance resulting from course and programme directors lack of knowledge of what happens on school placements.

Methodology In June 2006, questionnaires were sent to primary programme directors

and secondary course/subject directors in all of the 75 higher education institutions (HEIs) providing ITT in England. A total of 312 questionnaires (281 from secondary and 31 from primary) were received from 70 HEIs. This represented an overall response rate of 47 per cent.

Other findings

Provision of EOtC activities

At the secondary level, directors of PE, history and geography courses most frequently indicated that trainees had to have practical experience of EOtC. Directors of modern foreign language courses were least likely to say that practical experience of EOtC was a requirement of their course.


Delivery and coordination of EOtC activities

The main objectives of the EOtC training provided on primary and secondary courses focused on preparing and enabling trainees to run EOtC activities and enabling trainees to maximise pupil learning during EOtC. Respondents were least likely to focus on gauging the quality; or measuring the impact of EOtC experiences, or enabling trainees to experience how pupils behaved in different environments.

In addition to school-based training, most secondary respondents reported that EOtC training was delivered through stand alone compulsory units or during off-site days/residential experiences. Most primary respondents reported that EOtC training was interwoven across subject areas.

EOtC training was generally coordinated by individual course or subject directors rather than by the overall director of ITT. A small but significant number of primary and secondary respondents indicated that EOtC training was not coordinated at all on their programme.

Fieldwork was the most common EOtC-related training provided on both primary and secondary courses. All primary undergraduate programme directors indicated that fieldwork-related training was provided on their courses. At the secondary level, analysis by subject area showed that the EOtC training focus was closely related to the subject directed. For example, the majority of geography and science directors indicated that training on fieldwork and the natural environment was included and all English course directors indicated that EOtC training linked to creativity and the arts was included on their course.

A wide range of external providers were involved in EOtC training, including museums, galleries, field study centres and outdoor education centres.

Timing and quality of EOtC activities

Approximately one in ten respondents reported that students received no training in EOtC-related activities during their school placement, whilst a slightly higher proportion reported that they did not know if any training was provided on school placement.

Where there was a minimum expectation for EOtC training on ITT courses, this requirement was more likely to relate to students acquiring theory and understanding of EOtC rather than practical experience of EOtC.

The two main EOtC tra